USA Today has broken a 40-year tradition and endorsed Joe Biden for president. Since its founding in 1982 the only other time the newspaper’s editorial board has taken a position on a presidential race was in 2016, when it encouraged people not to vote for Donald Trump.
Four years ago it stopped short of endorsing Hillary Clinton, saying Trump was “unfit for office because he lacked the “temperament, knowledge, steadiness and honesty that America needs from its presidents.” USA Today’s endorsement today of Biden’s candidacy goes far beyond what it says Trump lacks; it is a scathing indictment of who and what he is:
“If this were a choice between two capable major party nominees who happened to have opposing ideas, we wouldn’t choose sides.
“For nearly four decades, the Editorial Board has stood for certain core values: truth, accountability, civility in public discourse, opposition to racism, common-ground solutions to the nation’s problems, and steadfast support for First Amendment rights. These aren’t partisan issues, or at least they shouldn’t be.
“Donald Trump has trampled each of these principles, making more than 20,000 false or misleading statements, ducking responsibility for his actions, spewing streams of invective at his critics, trafficking in racial fearmongering, governing more as the leader of the red states than of the United States, and relentlessly attacking the free press.”
The paper acknowledges that Biden is not perfect, noting his age and past foreign policy missteps. “Nevertheless,” it writes, “Biden is an experienced hand with working-class roots who understands the American dream. He knows the levers of power and how to wield them. He has a history of working across the aisle on such issues as health care, racial justice and the environment. He has the knowledge and the personality to begin repairing America’s tattered reputation around the world.”
The editorial board wrote that its endorsement is aimed at “those of you who are still uncertain about which candidate to vote for, or whether to vote at all. It’s also for those who settled on Trump but might be having last-minute doubts.
“This extraordinary moment in the history of our nation requires an extraordinary response. With his plans, his personnel picks, his experience and his humanity, Joe Biden can help lead the United States out of this morass and into the future. Your vote can help make that happen.”
USA Today has a combined print and digital daily readership of approximately 2.6 million.